In The Ballpark
When to Say “Yes” to a Shiudduch Suggestion
One of the biggest challenges for daters is knowing when to say “yes” to a suggestion for a shidduch. One idea sounds okay but not "perfect" - should you agree to go out despite your reservations? What about an idea that seem so far off-base you can’t believe the person making the suggestions understands what you’re looking for? If you turn it down, will the person who suggested it think you're too picky or not serious about wanting to get married? Are you tempted to say yes anyway to stay in that person's good graces?
How can you encourage that friend to consider what you're really looking for the next time she makes a suggestion? Or for him to follow through on ideas that sound good and may actually work even if in his mind’s eye he can’t see the two of you together?
Here’s a suggestion that can open up the field of potential candidates and at the same time eliminate those “players” who aren’t qualified. It can keep the “talent scouts” focused on finding the right “draft picks”. And it can help facilitate more successful mergers. We call this concept, “In The Ballpark.”
When to Say “Yes”
The principle behind “In The Ballpark” is simple. You can’t know if someone is right for you until you see them as a whole person. Find out if a suggested dating partner has the most important qualities you’re looking for, and if so, agree to go out and wait and see about everything else. You may discover that you’re really happy with the match, as you realize that the reasons you almost said “No” aren’t really that important in the overall scheme of things.
What do we mean by someone who is in the ballpark? It’s someone whose values, goals, lifestyle expectations, and direction in life are compatible with your own. It’s someone who has approximately four of the important personal qualities you are looking for in a spouse, and you're comfortable with that person’s background and overall description.
Unless you have strong negative feelings about a personality trait (for example, not wanting someone who is boisterous) or a physical quality (such as a big difference in height or weight), we recommend that you not turn down a suggestion for reasons that may turn out to be irrelevant in the long run. Try to be flexible if the suggested person is a little taller, shorter, younger, older, balder, heavier, thinner, polished, unpolished, more frum, less frum, than your initial preference. We also suggest not rejecting a suggestion because of your vague sense that your personalities aren’t compatible or you won’t be attracted to them. You could be wrong.
Ask the people setting you up to have the same flexibility. As much as they think they “know” what attracts or interests two people they're trying to set up, they can’t predict what will happen when they meet face to face. Whether your personalities will go together or whether one of you will like the other’s appearance is the province of HaKodesh BaruchHu.
It often takes a few dates for two people to start to connect and to begin to be attracted to each other. If daters regularly reject suggestions about people who are in the ballpark, and "matchmakers" refrain from suggesting these shidduchim because they don't "see" the match, many daters will never get the chance to see this happen to them.